While the University of Miami football team is signing recruits and trying to impress the best players in the nation all year long, fraternity life at UM is following a similar path.
Last Thursday marked Bid Day for the school’s fraternities and concluded the first year of deferred recruitment, during which freshmen could not accept bids to join fraternities until the spring semester. In years previous, freshmen were allowed to join Greek life in their first two weeks on campus.
“It’s not the same hectic, chaotic rush that it used to be. It takes a lot more work from individual brothers,” said sophomore Jesse Leeds, Alpha Sigma Phi’s rush chairman. “Now you have to form the connection first and have more of a personal relationship with [freshmen].”
Patricia A. Whitely, vice president for Student Affairs, made the decision in 2007. According to an earlier Hurricane article, Whitely said she wanted to make sure that first-year students did not feel pressured to decide right away if and where they want to go Greek.
“A lot of the freshmen we are seeing out at our events took more time to get to know fraternities and what works for them,” said junior Adam Margol, Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s rush chairman.
This extra semester to get to know freshmen means that fraternities have to do more outside of the two-week rush period.
“We still have our big events, because you’ve got to meet people. Before you can get to know someone, you’ve got to meet them in the first place,” Leeds said. “We have a lot more focus this rush on meeting kids in a more intimate setting, like just playing a game of basketball with them instead of just inviting them out to the next huge event.”
Even though this system seems to be creating more knowledgeable rushes and fraternities, there are downsides.
“These freshmen miss out on a semester of getting involved,” Margol said. “I rushed in the fall and joined as a way to get more involved on campus, and these guys don’t have that.”
Sororities at UM also had deferred recruitment for the first time this year. Panhellenic Bid Day was on Jan. 19.